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Category Archives: Other Clothes

Vintage-Style Cowgirl Split Riding Pants / Skirt for a Western Train Ride Event

Last month I made myself a cowgirl ensemble with a pair of split riding pants (with a button on panel to turn it into a skirt) using some cheerful blue wool and the 1919-1920 riding pants pattern by Wearing History.IMG_6640

The leftover wool was used for a self-drafted matching vest, lined with the same floral cotton as my blouse. GXWCE5351

I wore the ensemble during a ride on the Sacramento River Train with my local costume guild. IMG_6583

At the event I wore the pants without the extra skirt panel, but for a future wearing I plan to use this versatile garment with the skirt panel buttoned in (which makes them surprise pants!) IMG_E6491

I used 20 silver-colored metal shank buttons that have been in my stash for years. I think I paid 25 cents a button a long time ago and have been saving them for a project that needed 20 buttons! I got the wool for a great bargain too ($20!)IMG_E6486

The blouse was up-cycled from a second-hand cotton dress! I removed the skirt and used the extra fabric to make new sleeves and cuffs (replacing the 3/4 sleeves), extend the hem of the blouse, and also line my vest.  (It would have been even less work to just cut the skirt off a few inches below the waist seam, but it had a lot of gathered material that would have created bulk below the split riding pants).ABUU0472IMG_6478

For my other accessories I wore American Duchess Tavistock boots, vintage fringed sueded gloves with studs, a wool hat with a silver emblem I got from Poshmark, and a pleather pouch from Amazon.IMG_6693IMG_6691IMG_6830

The pouch (Amazon affiliate link) had slits in the back for threading the belt through to wear as a hip pouch, plus internal loops to wear as a purse. It’s “old-time” enough that I think it’ll end up in other costume ensembles!IMG_6831

Some notes about the Wearing History pattern: It comes with a short and long version of the skirt. Since I had limited fabric I cut the shorter version and was able to get a vest out of the scraps. (I used 3 yards of 54″ wool). The pants are unlined.Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 5.23.22 PMThe skirt panel is faced with self-fabric and contains all the buttonholes while the buttons are sewn onto the pants. There are two options to attach the skirt panel. You can have one side sewn into the seam of the pants (which means you won’t lose the panel and you can make half as many buttonholes) or you can have the panel completely removable. If you have the panel attached you fold it over to one side and button it down.  I opted to have the panel completely removable because my self-faced fabric folded over would have meant 4 layers of medium-weight wool and more bulk than I wanted. (If you use a lightweight wool or other fabric you don’t have to be concerned about that).IMG_6485

The back of the skirt has an inverted box pleat that you can stitch down the center back seam. I did not do the stitching, in order to make the back more skirt-like. IMG_6501

The pants are very full so even if the skirt is buttoned in place in the front there should be plenty of range of motion due to the extra fabric in the sides and back.IMG_6595

Pattern difficulty is “advanced” according to Wearing History. This is because this is a reproduction of an antique pattern from 1919-1920 and assumes certain basic knowledge. Wearing History has added some really helpful notes, but this is not the kind of modern pattern that has step-by-step illustrations.  You should know how to make and attach a placket for the opening and the facings on the bottom hem. (These are rectangular pieces you make yourself from scraps, and are not included in the pattern).IMG_8727

I am an experienced costumer maker and have made pants before, so I did not find this pattern particularly difficult, but it is not a beginner pattern for sure. I highly recommend this pattern if you are experienced or an ambitious intermediate seamstress. It was definitely fun to wear with the rest of my guild!IMG_8713

The last 3 photos are by Lauren Moyer, one of our wonderful GBACG board members.IMG_8724

Giddyap!

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.

A Giraffe Dress and Elephant PJs Using Fabrics from Tanzania

Earlier this year my friend Kim visited Tanzania and brought me back some great African fabric as a special gift.

I used this vibrant giraffe print to make myself a long dress for summer. It’s opaque enough that I was able to skip a lining, making it a perfect cotton dress for warmer weather.img_0713

I cut it out a few months ago but only recently finished because I got distracted by the Tudor kirtle.img_0714

I think it looks like the giraffes are having a chat and perhaps giving a little side-eye.img_0715

I used Vogue 8789 for the pattern, and just extended the length of the skirt to use up the width of the fabric. (You may recognize the bodice as being the same shape as my Black Swan 1950s  Ball Gown). The dress used 3 meters of fabric.img_0716

The other fabric I received from Kim was a kanga. (You can read about them and how they are used on KangaUSA). This elephant kanga is printed with the phrase “Wanyama ndiyo urithi wetu tuwatunza,” which is Swahili for “Animals are our inheritance, we should protect them.”IMG_9037.JPG

Because of the shape of the fabric and the way the print is formatted I had to think about how to cut the fabric, but realized that pajama bottoms are a great way to use a rectangular print.img_9038

The pattern is Butterick 6837, which I’ve used a number of times in the past to make PJs for myself and my family. If you have a serger and put in an elastic waistband you can make PJ pants in about an hour with enough practice.IMG_9040.JPG

I was able to use up the kanga with very little fabric wasted. Because of my height I had to piece a little fabric at the top to make it long enough, but a shorter person could skip this step. This project was so quick it was my first sewing project right after attending Costume College in August, when I wanted something easy.

I’m still working on my last project of 2016, but Happy New Year!

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!)

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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

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Lady Tremaine’s Bodice (Mockup Process)

This past week I started the mockup process for making Lady Tremaine’s bodice. Since the sequined fabric is very precious and I won’t have time to make another special order for it before Costume College I definitely wanted to take my time with the patterning.

I am using the Vintage Pattern Lending Library Ladies’ Basque pattern. I picked it because it had the shape I wanted, but cutting out the pattern pieces made me realize it had many more seams than I wanted. (Less seams = less trouble when dealing with sequins, and more screen-accurate).

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My goal was to eliminate the center front seam, the two side back seams, and change the four front darts into two. I can do this because I’m not very curvy, I don’t plan to wear this with a corset, and it is a fantasy costume. If this was meant to be a properly fitted historical costume bodice worn over a corset, I would not recommend removing seams.

I started by tracing the paper pattern pieces without modification onto some fabric leftover with another fabric. It was navy blue and I used a silver pen so it ended up looking like architectural plans.

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Mockup #1 was not sewn together; it was placed on the dress form to determine general fit, and I was able to see that there was too much fabric in the front. IMG_8350

To make adjustments I turned the mockup inside out, and then started pinching out extra fabric and pinning. I also made one giant dart out of the two darts on each side. When satisfied with the general fit I made more notes directly on the fabric with the pen, then disassembled the pieces for my pattern.IMG_8356IMG_8359

The final pattern pieces:IMG_8362

I then made mockup #2, which is wrinkly because I was too lazy to iron the fabric beforehand. =)IMG_8367IMG_8368

Then finally I cut out my sequined fabric! The sequins are on a sheer georgette, so I had to flat-line it with satin so that any raw seams tucked under would not show. The edges were serged because the satin was fraying and the sequins were falling off.IMG_8383

A note about sequins: The “right” way to sew sequined fabric is to unpick the sequins next to your seam allowance to avoid a bulky seam, or having some of the sequins be punctured or bent by your sewing machine needle. I skipped this step for several reasons: 1) I am working with very small sequins which will hide much better in the seam than large ones. 2) I am hand-sewing the bodice pieces together so that I can feel any resistance in my needle that I wouldn’t be able to tell by machine. 3) I am lazy and short on time to unpick so many tiny sequins and sew them back on.

Here is the current bodice. I still need to add sleeves, trim the neckline and bottom, add closures, and start the scary process of flocking!IMG_8413

 

1940s Star Trek TNG (Film Noir Costumes)

Last Saturday was the 1940s PEERS Ball, and my “crew” and I wore our 1940s Star Trek mashup outfits! (From left to right: Riker, Data, Troi, Red Shirt, Dixon Hill, Wesley, Dr. Crusher, and Geordi).IMG_8018

I was very worried that I couldn’t get the hair right, but with some tips from friends, a lot of foam curlers, and the magic setting lotion Lottabody I felt fabulous!IMG_8058

My hair was so fluffy you can’t see the vintage Bakelite dome earrings I’m wearing. They are mustard-colored and match the ring.IMG_8010IMG_8011

Here we are all so serious! IMG_8021

I had enough leftover fabric to give to Breanna so we could match! Her use of silver netting for Geordi’s visor was so clever!IMG_8038

Dr. Crusher made a dress and a coat!IMG_7997

Although Wesley was not so impressed by Mom.IMG_8029

Troi and sexy Riker got a little frisky!IMG_8055

Riker had to do the signature weird chair leaping!IMG_8067

And every away mission needs a Red Shirt!IMG_7993

All the ladies in our group made their own dresses from vintage or altered patterns. We had a wonderful time and I definitely want to wear my outfit again to Costume College!

See the rest of the photos on my Flickr account.

You can read about how I made my dress: Part 1, 2, 3.

1940s Star Trek Dress (Part 3) Finished

My 1940s style Star Trek dress is finished!  I am looking forward to wearing it to a 1940s party this weekend. (I will post pictures of the event next week).IMG_7949To summarize, the dress is made from 2 layers of rayon challis. The neckline is piped and has several gold buttons for “pips.” IMG_7939

I modified the Dahlia blouse pattern from Wearing History. I added in the extra seams in the front and back to create color-blocking and drafted the skirt myself.IMG_7944

The front is gathered at the shoulders with a puffed sleeve head.IMG_7945

The elbow is gathered, like many 1940s dresses, and the sleeves are extra long.IMG_7946

There is a curved seam where the bodice meets the skirt.IMG_7951

The rayon makes for a very nice, drapey dress. It is very form-fitting, especially around the hips. I’m afraid the construction shows off every bump and lump so proper vintage undergarments are required: a Rago girdle and a slip.IMG_7952

The dress closes on the side with a side-lapped zipper, hand-stitched in. (Originally I used invisible zippers, but this is more accurate to the time period).

I actually thought I completed it a few weeks ago, but when I put it on I wasn’t completely pleased with the way it hung, so I redid it – twice. Originally I made this as a 2-piece outfit, with a somewhat A-line skirt. I decided to change to a pencil skirt, which I felt would work better with the top. Also, I converted the outfit to a one piece, thinking the skirt would weigh down the bodice and keep the edges from flipping up. This meant I had to completely dismantle and recut the skirt, and remove 2 zippers.

Originally I prick-stitched the bodice to the skirt, which made the peplum front stand out, but the back looked a little odd. I took the dress and zipper apart again, and stitched everything together. There’s still little things I’m not 100% happy about, but overall I am very pleased with how it came together!

Final cost $87.93:

  • From Fabric.com: 3 yards black rayon challis, 2 yards mustard rayon challis, 1 spool black thread ($41.10 including tax and free shipping)
  • From Wearing History: a digital pattern bought on sale (I highly recommend you pay to get a paper pattern instead; I bought mine digitally because I needed it right away, but the paper ones are worth it!)
  • From the stash: gold buttons and zipper
  • From Thinkgeek: TNG communicator pin ($19.99 plus $6.95 shipping)
  • From Amazon: TNG phaser ($10.89 plus free Prime shipping)

I especially pleased with the communicator. It’s a quality reproduction that is on a strong magnet so I won’t get pin holes in my dress. The communicator is now available on Amazon (affiliate link) so if you have Prime you can even save on the shipping:

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I bought a TNG phaser just because it was fun and cheap. (It makes noise!): IMG_7953

I purchased some incredible Miss L Fire shoes, but sadly they are a bit big for me. I might see if I can get some inserts that won’t show in the peep toe, but for now I’ll have to wear plain black pumps with the dress.

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I also own these Capezios, which are very comfortable dance shoes, so they might be better for the event I have in mind this weekend anyway.

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Read Parts 1 and 2.

Next step is to figure out how to do hair and make-up, which are not things I excel at. Wish me luck!

1940s Star Trek Dress (Part 2)

I’ve made some progress on my 1940s Star Trek dress. I still need to do some finishing touches, but the major parts are done. (The skirt, sleeves, and bodice bottom need to be hemmed, the zippers need finishing, and I need to make piping for the neckline. I’d like to fuss a bit with the front gathers as well).IMG_7809

Obviously it will need a good ironing once it’s done!IMG_7811

I am also trying to decide whether to buy official TNG pips or to use these fancy buttons I have from my stash.IMG_7813

You can read about Part 1 here.